Eelgrass, redhead grass, widgeon grass and wild celery are four of the Chesapeake Bay's most significant underwater grasses. Can you match the 15 facts here with the correct species? There are four facts for each grass-one fact is true for two species.
1. Two of these grasses are important sources of food for waterfowl and are thought to get their names from specific ducks that eat them.
2. Many waterfowl eat this plant, especially the canvasback duck, whose scientific name reflects the bird's fondness for this grass.
3. This plant was once so common that it was used as a packing material. When it had dried, it was used to stuff mattresses or insulate homes.
4. This grass' leaves are 12-20 inches long with three veins that run their length. In shallow, sandy exposed areas, they are small and narrow. The leaves grow wider and longer as the water gets deeper and muddier.
5. The oval-shaped leaves on this plant are flat with curled edges. The base of the leaves clasp the reddish or whitish stems. The green leaves usually get darker as the water gets shallower.
6. The threadlike leaves of this plant have round tips and grow along thin, branching stems. One form of this plant can grow several feet tall, while another is short and creeping.
7. This plant's ribbonlike leaves, which have finely toothed edges and a light green stripe down their middle, grow about 5 feet long.
8. This plant is usually found in slow-moving fresh to moderately brackish water. It is mostly found in the middle Bay and many Maryland rivers.
9. This plant is the Bay's only true seagrass-a flowering plant that grows solely in marine or salty water.
10. This plant grows in both fresh and brackish water. It is also sometimes found in roadside or agricultural ditches.
11. This plant grows in the upper Bay in fresh to slightly brackish water.
12. The flowers of this plant bloom just above the water's surface and produce a dark fruit that contains its seeds.
13. This grass grows best in the spring and fall, when the water is cooler. It dies back in the summer when the water is warmer.
14. This plant produces two flowers that grow upward and bear four, oval-shaped black fruits on the end of stalks.
15. This plant tolerates heavy waves and murky water better than the others.
Eelgrass: 3, 4, 9 & 13
Redhead Grass: 1, 5, 8 & 12
Widgeon Grass: 1, 6, 10 & 14
Wild Celery: 2, 7, 11 & 15